5 Things MLB Needs To Fix In The 2013 All-Star Game
At the risk of sounding like an old curmudgeon (is there any other kind?), I'm going to continue my little tirade over the MLB All Star game. Despite what I've said, and what I'm going to say, yes, I will be watching the game, at least most of it probably.
Will my bathroom breaks be less frantic? Will my trips to the fridge be more frequent? Will I drink more of my favorite beverage than usual? Most likely. But that doesn't mean I won't be watching and rooting for my favorite Pittsburgh Pirate dudes to do well and yes, for the National League team to win, should the moon fall from the sky and the Pirates make it all the way to the World Series this season.
As much as I'm against the recently new “incentive” fabricated by the MLB for either All Star team to try and win the yearly contest, I'm not going to cut my nose off to spite my face and not take the WS home field advantage should the NL win the game.
More on that grand idea to come, but suffice to say, it's one of the five things the MLB needs to change about the 2013 All Star game.
Stacey Kengal is a writer for RantSports.com covering the Pittsburgh Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @StaceyKengal, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.
Okay, let's start with the voting process. I've already stated my objections to the current voting system. My solution? Three different groups of voters. Fans, sports' writers and players/managers. The fans represent one block of voters and get one vote per fan (a single vote, not the current ridiculous 25), the sports' writers represent another block of voters and get one vote each and the players and managers represent the third block and get one vote each. In the event of a tie, the player/manager's vote takes precedent. If anyone knows what the heck's going on out there on a nightly basis, it's the players and managers. This way, everyone’s represented and it prevents the ol' stuffing of the ol' ballot box; and at least to some degree, more than under the current system, a proper representation of players gets selected.
Drop the current “win for your league” incentive. Exactly why should a player from the Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs or Houston Astros -- or half the other teams for that matter who are all but out of the playoff race by mid-July -- give a rat's you-know-what about this kind of carrot-on-the-end-of-the-stick when they're not even getting the carrot? And why should a team with the best record in a long and grinding 162-game baseball schedule not be rewarded with home field advantage in the World Series just because Dan Uggla boots three balls in the contest and cost his league the game and consequently World Series home-field advantage? (Didn't cost the NL the game that year, but the point is still made.) Solution? Up the prize money to the winners, and the losers get nothing. I know some of these guys are already making millions and millions (and even more millions) of dollars, but even a millionaire likes money. Make it worthwhile to win the game on an individual basis, that way you'll get a better individual effort, which in baseball, translates into team effort, since as I've said many times before, baseball is a team game played by individuals.
Don't count anything beyond the current season. It's THIS year's performance ONLY. Yes, I know Mariano Rivera has had a great career, but that's what the Hall of Fame is for, not the All Star game. Career stats should not figure in any selection of a player, especially if it prevents someone else who's having a stellar year from going. Some guys only have one great year in their career. Why should they get bumped for someone who's not having as good a year, even if they are HOF material? Again, the All Star game is for the current year's performance only. That's it. That's why they put the adjective 2013 before it. Save the lifetime achievement stuff for some other time, like the Hall of Fame game in Cooperstown, or some other event other than the All-Star game.
Expand the pitching rosters as much as needed. A few more relievers allowed on the All-Star roster won't hurt anyone. The last thing a manager wants to worry about is running out of pitchers. The tie game back in the 2002 All-Star game was a travesty and hopefully the low point of what the event has currently become. If a particular pitcher doesn't get in the game, tough toenails. You're a professional. And guess what? You still get paid whether you break a sweat or not. Enjoy it either way!
And finally, start the damn thing earlier. You're losing a whole generation of fans who can't see the end of the game because it's past their bedtime, or they just can't stay awake. Kids like the game just as much as adults and they deserve to see a bases-loaded, bottom-of-the-10th-inning nail-biter too. Sorry West Coast, but you can watch the game while you're eating dinner. (And then still go out afterwards!) Some sacrifices have to made. Think of the kids. Not to mention the old folks. 7:05 p.m. EST first pitch! 7:35 p.m. start at the latest.
Does all that sound too curmudgeonly? Yes? Well get the heck off my lawn then! Damn kids!